Daniel “Jungleman12” Cates has won the Johannesburg WPT Alpha 8. The $500,000 first prize is the high stakes online cash game player’s largest live score.
The nine player field included big names such as Phil Ivey, fresh off of his $4 million score at the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge, Philipp Gruissem, who was shooting for his third consecutive Alpha 8 title, Antonio Esfandiari, Jeff Gross, Max Altergott, Erik Seidel and Jason Mercier.
Cates took first place after a heads up battle with Kinesh Pather, a Johannesburg resident with just $144k in live earnings. Cates had a large advantage heading into heads up play, out-chipping his opponent 836k to 164k. The victory was cemented when Cates’ JT beat KJ at showdown from an all-in preflop.
In addition to the $500,000, Cates also scored an Alpha8 trophy and a 24k special edition pair of Monster headphones. Pather added $275k to his lifetime winnings, and Jason Mercier took home $200k for third.
Cates relocated to Cape Town, South Africa for the winter last year, perhaps giving him the feeling that he was playing on home ground.
This bump to his bankroll is not likely to be the biggest addition in 2014 for Cates: In 2011, the failure of Full Tilt left him with “millions” stuck in limbo, but—barring any dispute over his balance—remissions for Full Tilt victims are expected shortly and should provide a sizeable boost for Cates.